ABIGAIL DENAULT, TRUMPET STAFF WRITER
This past weekend, Mar. 19-20, the Wartburg College Alliance held their “Gay Paddy’s Day Karaoke & Party” at the Alliance Lounge in Löhe 137. The organization is already making preparations for their next big event: Gayla Week.
Kaitlyn Parks, a fourth-year and activities coordinator for Alliance, has been putting together the event alongside other Alliance executive team members.
For those not familiar, Gayla Week is a week-long event meant to bring awareness to the LGBTQIA+ Community drawing together members of the community along with other allies.
“This year, it will be held the week of May 9-14, with PANdemonium as our theme. This event has been hosted since 2005. COVID-19 has not hindered this year’s Gayla Week but has in the past. Last year, there was only the Drag Show, and the year before, the entire week had to be canceled indefinitely,” Parks said.
A major event of the week is the drag show that is set to be held on May 14. The show is open for all to apply to be a performer through the Alliance website.
“Drag is a style of performing arts where performers, typically male-identifying, will dress in female-styled clothing and exaggerated makeup and wigs, called Drag Queens (or Kings when donning male-styled clothing). A performer can do anything from dancing, lip-syncing/singing, or comedy,” Parks said.
The term “drag” itself has a deep history in the community.
As the Wartburg College Alliance website explains, “All actors in Shakespearean times were male so female roles were also portrayed by males . . . side notes were written in the script as “Dressed As Girl” or D.R.A.G. Drag should not be confused with cross-dressing, which is not a form of entertainment. Drag in the LGBT rights movement has been used as entertainment for fundraisers for worthwhile causes that affect the community.”
Beyond the show, there are several other events for students to look forward to.
“We start Gayla Week Monday, May 9th with Reading Rainbow, May 10th is a panel with S.A.F.E during the day and a Gayme Night that evening, May 11th is a Trivia night, May 12th is LGBTea, May 13th is a collaborative event with other diversity groups to celebrate Holi, all leading up to the Drag Show on May 14th,” Parks said.
The week is also a time to bring light to the discrimination against LGBTQIA+ community as well the importance of Alliance as an organization.
“Being part of the LGBTQIA+ Community, or even being an ally to it, means being discriminated against. Telling the wrong person about a key part of your identity can lead to bullying, assault-of many kinds-and other acts of violence, abandonment or houselessness.” Parks said.
Rylee Zobac, a third-year and dual co-president and secretary of Alliance, also commented on the importance of having organizations like Alliance on a campus.
“Alliance is an important organization to have at Wartburg because every student deserves a place, and people, they can feel comfortable around. For LGBTQIA+ people, Alliance is that place and Alliance members are those people,” Zobac said.
Zobac also touched on her hopes for the future of the organization.
“I personally hope we can get more people involved with Alliance in the future as well as having our organization itself be more involved on campus,” Zobac said.
Zobac also had a message to share with other students whether they are allies or part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I would like more people to know that you do not have to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community to be a part of Alliance. We love and appreciate our straight allies just as much. Alliance is a club about love and inclusivity for all, not just our LGBTQIA+ members,” Zobac said.
Those with questions about Alliance, would like to get involved, or need a safe space to talk with someone can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at wartburg.edu/alliance/. Students can also drop by their lounge in Löhe 137, located near Cardinal Commons with office hours posted outside the door and updated regularly.